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National Championship Preview



While few, if any predicted that a seventh and eighth-seeded team would compete in the Men's Basketball National Championship, it's hardly a matchup of "Cinderellas." Two storied programs in Kentucky, who earned an eight seed on Selection Sunday, and Connecticut, who earned a seven seed, will take on one another to hopefully add another chapter to their school's prominent histories.

The Kentucky Wildcats have certainly taken an interesting path to the title game. After yet another incredible recruiting offseason by head coach John Calipari, the Wildcats were the preseason number one in the opening polls. After falling from the top spot and stumbling a bit through SEC regular season play, Kentucky has proved that it's preseason billing was an accurate one. After losing to Florida by a single point in the SEC Tournament on March 16th, Kentucky has ripped off five consecutive tournament wins against ninth-seed Kansas State, first-seed and previously undefeated Wichita State, fourth-seed and defending champions Louisville, and two second seeds in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Kentucky is loaded with NBA talent. After whispers of a fall in draft stock, Julius Randle has had an incredible tournament. In addition to Randle, freshmen Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, James Young, and Marcus Lee have all played prominent roles in Kentucky's run and displayed the talent that made all six players high school All-Americans.

On the other side is a Connecticut team that is led by senior point guard Shabazz Napier and longtime NBA point guard, head coach Kevin Ollie. The Huskies have had an equally impressive run to reach Arlington. After knocking off the tenth-seeded Saint Joseph's Hawks in the opening round, UConn beat second-seed Villanova, third-seed Iowa State, fourth-seed Michigan State, and first-seed and overall tournament number one, Florida.

Napier has certainly provided Huskies fans with a memorable run, especially considering UConn missed the postseason last year due to NCAA sanctions. In addition to Napier's all-around talents, the Huskies boast impressive three-point shooting in the form of junior DeAndre Daniels and senior Niels Giffey. Lightning-quick junior guard Ryan Boatright provides a secondary scoring punch in the backcourt.

The game tips off tonight at 9:10 PM ET. You can listen to the game here on WGR SportsRadio 550. 

 

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